Ed Sutherland

Microsoft on the defensive: Apple’s free iWork productivity suite is ‘no big deal’

There's nothing like a good dogfight between two tech titans to get your blood flowing. After a hiatus from its sniping at Apple, Microsoft is back, calling the decision to offer iWork and iLife software free "no big deal". Sure Microsoft, whatever you say.

But Redmond didn't stop there. In a Wednesday blog post, the software giant's communication vice president paints Apple's move as desperate, before launching into a rally-round-the-flag sort of promo for the new Surface tablet.

All of which reminds me of the Hamlet quote about protesting too much...

Apple patents new iBooks gifting choice

Unlike other media Apple sells, such as music and video, you've not been able to gift e-books - until now (perhaps). As we head into the holiday season, the iPhone maker has filed for a patent on sending to friends the e-books you've already purchased through the iBookstore. The patent filing would enable you to select a passage in an e-book that reminds you of someone, then gift the book, complete with a personalize message...

Old iPads are hot: 81 percent of North American tablet traffic

On Tuesday, just a few hours ahead of Apple's iPad keynote, new evidence surfaced about how entrenched Apple's device is in the minds of tablet users. Although Apple's tablet has undergone a number of updates, the old iPad 2 remarkably still accounts for the vast majority of U.S. and Canadian web traffic.

That's the word from ad network Chitika, showing iPads are 81 percent of North American tablet-based online traffic. The next closest competitor is the Kindle Fire from Amazon, nipping at Apple's heels with 6.1 percent. This is the second report in as many days showing even the oldest iPads dominate all contenders...

Samsung buys stake in iPhone cover glass maker Corning

Gorilla Glass maker Corning has a new partner: Samsung. The South Korean firm is taking ownership in the company which produces tough glass displays for the iPhone and just about everyone else. At the same time, the $2 billion agreement gives Samsung a 10-year a supply contract while Corning gets the cash to explore future technology.

Along with making highly-resistant glass for smartphones, Corning could also be tapped to produce flexible material aimed at the growing number of wearable devices, such as Samsung's Galaxy Gear and Apple's long-rumored iWatch...

Apple may have sold 15M (now old) iPads during the September quarter

Normally, selling 170 million of anything is cause for headlines, but everyone isn't Apple. When CEO Tim Cook said Tuesday the tech giant has sold 170 million iPads to date, analysts forecast sales of fifteen million tablets during the September quarter, at a minimum.

If correct, the predictions would top the fourteen million iPads sold during the same quarter of 2012. For Apple, the expectations could also counter the belief that demand for its tablet computers are slowing...

Russian carriers that dropped Apple in 2012 now want it back

Two of the three Russian carriers that dropped the iPhone in 2012 now want it back. MTS and Vimplecom announced Tuesday they will begin selling Apple's new iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s starting Friday.

Vimplecom (which owns Russia's No. 3 carrier Beeline) said it signed a contract with Apple for the new handsets. MTS, on the other hand, will use a distributor to get the smartphones. Both Vimplecom and MTS stopped iPhone sales last year, complaining Apple's stringent contracts created "harsh conditions"...

Tim Cook joins board of China’s top Beijing university

As China becomes more important to Apple's bottom line, the iPhone maker will need to grease the wheels to ensure products are timely approved. In a step in that direction, Apple CEO Tim Cook has joined the advisory board of a prestigious engineering university - which also happens to include a number of prominent Chinese politicians.

Cook, who is also a Nike board member, has added his name to a panel assisting Tsinghua University's School of Economics and Management (SEM), according to a report. As markets such as North America and Western Europe mature and growth slows, tech companies like Apple view China as a way to take up the slack...

iPhone 5c is narrowing on iPhone 5s lead, according to analytics firm

The popularity of Apple's iPhone 5c is increasing. After a string of reports suggesting more iPhone 5s handsets were being sold, new numbers shop the sales gap shrinking. In a curious move for a smartphone first thought to attract mainly emerging markets, the iPhone 5c popularity in the U.S. is higher than overall global demand.

According to researchers at Localytics, the ration of iPhone to iPhone 5s sales is 1.9, much smaller than the 3.4 ratio reported during the first week of sales for Apple's two new iPhones...

From the makers of Paper: the Pencil stylus

A stylus has always been handy for artists needing to work on a design using the iPad. For the rest of us, a pen-based tablet has been more of a pain.

Now comes a new stylus that just might be both attractive and useful. The accessory, dubbed Pencil, comes from the folks who introduced us to the Paper iPad app.

First, Pencil from FifthyThree is flat - like a carpenter's - so no more chasing a rolling stylus. Secondly, the stylus includes a USB port, making the tool practical beyond simply jotting down a note on your iPad...

iPad owns 91 percent of tablet ad impressions

Next to developer allegiance, where advertisers are spending their mobile ad dollars could be the most significant sign of whether Apple or Android is winning. New numbers out today show Apple's iOS is trouncing Google and it is the iPad that's leading the way. Indeed, the Apple tablet was the target of more than 91 percent of mobile ad impressions.

What's more, despite a near neck-and-neck race in terms of ad impressions on smartphones, the iPhone outperforms Android handsets for hauling in ad revenue. For example, while Android smartphones deliver 30.5 percent of mobile ad impressions, the platform receives just 27.7 percent of the revenue.

By comparison, although the iPhone receives 30.8 percent of impressions, it gets 36.44 percent of revenue, according to a mobile ad analytic firm Opera Mediaworks...

Apple seeks Samsung penalty for leaking secret Nokia patent terms

A court earlier this week denied motions by Samsung to delay a probe into whether it improperly disclosed a confidential 2011 licensing agreement between Apple and Nokia.

Although Samsung lawyers argued the original judge made mistakes in ruling the South Korean firm committed a breach of privacy, Judge Lucy Koh found the decision "eminently reasonable".

Earlier this month, Apple filed a legal motion claiming Samsung illegally disclosed details of the patent licensing agreement in order to improve negotiations. The iPhone maker alleges the information revealed was part of documents turned over as part of the Apple v. Samsung case...

Massive setback for Android: Apple’s ‘Steve Jobs patent’ reconfirmed for original iPhone

In a case of good timing, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has reconfirmed a multitouch patent credited to Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs and the original iPhone design.

On the sixth anniversary of the iconic smartphone, the U.S. government reaffirmed the massive patent that was called into question in 2012.

Jobs was among the more than two-dozen people named in the massive 364-page patent filed in 2006.

The USPTO had issed a preliminary invalidation of the patent package, but now believes all 20 patents are valid...